Tomorrow marks the annual day of remembrance for our veterans. This is a holiday that hits home for me, as both my parents were in the military, and for that matter, so were a majority of my family members.
My father joined the Air Force when it was still the Army Air Corps. He was stationed overseas several times in his career and was involved in cryptography. Unfortunately he never shared many stories of wartime – perhaps because he didn’t think it a great topic for a young girl, it perhaps because he didn’t want to relive things. My stepfather was actually in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese, though even he won’t tell stories much beyond sharing those facts.
Separated from the reality by distance and time, we tend to romanticize things, but there is nothing romantic about the reality of war. Even current coverage of war zones doesn’t come close to the stress and sometimes horror of the real thing, according to all those I know who have gone and returned.
The purpose of Veterans Day is listed officially as “A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” Service does mean sacrifice, and a lot of it. For the veterans I know, for all that I don’t, for all those who have gone before to secure our freedoms and way of life — thank you.